International Women's Day
8 March 2022
March 8th is International Women's Day: a day to celebrate women's accomplishments, challenge inequality and acknowledge the need for gender equality. History gives us countless examples of women who have stood up for those who have no voice. At Eurogroup for Animals, we pay tribute today to Britta Riis, CEO at Dyrenes Beskyttelse and President of the World Federation for Animals, whose work as a passionate animal advocate has changed the world for the better. Happy International Women's Day!
You’ve dedicated your career to social good and advancing animal protection. What does the future of animal protection look like to you?
Looking into recent events where we had the success of having a resolution on animal welfare approved at the Assembly of the United Nations Environmental Program I see quite a positive future for animal welfare. Animal welfare (and our food system) is closely connected to the biodiversity crisis and the climate crisis, and we should use the interconnectedness of these issues to raise public awareness. I also see that animal welfare organisations are willing to work together, for example in the newly formed World Animal Federation, and I strongly believe that if we join forces we can make progress.
What inspires you to use your voice and make choices to protect animals?
It's always humans that inspire me. I'm fortunate to work alongside a lot of bright people and I'm inspired by the fact that we build on our collective ideas, strengths and knowledge, not to mention the desire to make a difference in the world.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in your career?
This is a really difficult question as there are many small lessons but not one big one. I have always tried to act professionally and with integrity, which means never having a hidden agenda, always being trustworthy, but also keeping the spirit, working with humor and energy. Always look at things in a holistic way and think outside the box - try to find new solutions if you are stuck. And then, maybe systemic change takes a long time, so you have to be stimulated by the small victories.
On International Women's Day, what message would you like to send to women interested in protecting animals and the planet?
Raise and use your voice to express yourself. If you are not working in animal protection as part of your career, use your free time to get involved: become a member and/or volunteer in animal protection organisations and set a good example! Always set a good example and spread the message that we should treat animals with respect and empathy. If you work in the sector: don't be disillusioned! Change takes time and even if it seems that nothing changes, it will eventually happen. I'm sure it will happen.